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Aus PM plays down snap polls speculation

world Updated: Aug 14, 2009 11:33 IST
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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday played down renewed speculation over snap polls after the defeat of emissions trading legislation.

The bill's failure in the Senate on Thursday prompted conjecture that Rudd would reintroduce it within three months knowing it would be rejected a second time, giving him the power to dissolve parliament.

But the centre-left leader said it was "absolutely" untrue he was playing politics with the scheme, which aims to cut carbon pollution by up to 25 per cent over the next decade.

"I have not the slightest intention of going to an early poll," Rudd told commercial radio.

"I don't think people like that. I think they want you to serve the term that you have been elected for."

No election is due until late next year but analysts say Rudd may be tempted to opt for an early vote as his government is riding high in opinion polls.

Rudd, who won office in 2007 on a pro-green platform, said he just wanted to "get on with the job of getting this (legislation) through" and called on his conservative counterparts to help move the debate forward.

He has described climate change as "the greatest moral challenge of our generation" for Australia, which is the grip of the worst drought in a century.

His government does not have a majority in the Senate, or upper house, where independents hold the balance of power.

The conservative opposition joined forces with the Greens and independent senators to vote down the scheme on Thursday.